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Progress updates

University-wide progress updates

As part of our Strategic Direction, Dalhousie made a commitment to foster a collegial culture grounded in diversity and inclusiveness. Following three years of collaboration, our community has laid a solid foundation that will enable our diversity and inclusiveness efforts to continue and strengthen on campus.

Faculties and administrative units from across the university have provided regular updates to the recommendations made in the following reports: the belong report; the Report from the Task Force on Misogyny, Sexism and Homophobia in the Faculty of Dentistry; the Report from the Restorative Justice process at the Faculty of Dentistry, along with the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. Responses received detailed examples of implementation success, which vary in scope, approach and timing.

The information contained in the fourth status update reflects the sustained progress being made at Dalhousie, including:

  • The Faculty of Medicine’s study society established a Muslim Medical Association Chapter with an initial focus to increase awareness and cultural competency amongst physicians regarding fasting in Ramadhan and its possible healthcare considerations.
  • As part of African Heritage Month activities on campus, the Pan-African flag was raised on campus – a possible first for any university in Canada.
  • Dentistry’s student lounge has been redesigned and repurposed to better reflect students’ commitment and values, including inclusivity, responsibility, accountability, safety and transparency.
  • Faculties e.g. Health Professions and Administrative Units e.g. University Libraries and Student Affairs); are reviewing their space regarding accessibility and inclusion to identify opportunities for change.
  • Human Resources and Human Rights and Equity Services (HRES), working together, launched and collected  equity data via the Be Counted survey.
  • HRES, Respect Reps developed and delivered educational awareness activities in residences to approximately 400 students on healthy relationships and sexual health.

This important work would not be possible without the co-operation and leadership of many. Thank you to our campus community for their ongoing consideration and commitment.

If you have questions about this report, please contact Norma Williams, Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusiveness (norma.williams@dal.ca).

Progress on Report Recommendations Update (June 2017)

Download the Dalhousie University Culture of Respect Progress Report Recommendations Update (June 2017) [PDF - 860 kB]

A Message From Jasmine Walsh and Wanda Thomas Bernard

Co-Chairs, Strategic Priority 5.2

It is an exciting time for Diversity & Inclusiveness at Dalhousie. Over the life of this strategic initiative we have achieved a significant number of our stated goals. Many more are in progress.

The detail contained in this Progress on Recommendations Report (PORR) is a testament to the hard work of many across the institution who are committed not only to fulfilling recommendations in a list of reports, but more importantly to embedding diversity and inclusiveness in all that we do at Dalhousie.

This winter, we introduced a Diversity and Inclusiveness Strategy for Dalhousie that builds on the spirit and substance of the reports whose recommendations are enumerated in the PORR. Going forward we will be guided in our actions by an established framework, supported by research that supports and informs our core belief that diversity and inclusiveness are essential pillars of excellence for a postsecondary institution performing on the international stage.

The framework provides us with a meaningful way to move our work forward. We will be focussing our efforts on four key pillars: Student Access and Success, Education and Research, Climate and Intergroup Relations, and Institutional Viability and Vitality. Under these four pillars we will ensure an inclusive and strategic approach to our work that will continue long beyond the end of our strategic planning period.

Another important milestone is the work that has been undertaken towards developing an independent Indigenous Strategy for Dalhousie. A committee, led by Professors Patti Doyle-Bedwell and Keith Taylor, has been established to action the recommendations that uniquely affect our Indigenous community at Dalhousie, particularly those arising under the Truth and Reconciliation Report.

We are grateful for this opportunity to reflect on the progress that we have made. We are also grateful to everyone for your efforts. We must stay mindful always, however, of the important work that remains ahead. We remain committed to a future where everyone truly feels represented and valued at Dalhousie.

Most sincerely,

Jasmine Walsh, 
Acting AVP Human Resources

The Honourable Wanda Thomas Bernard
Senator - Nova Scotia
Professor, School of Social Work
Special Advisor Diversity and Inclusiveness


Previous updates

Progress on Report Recommendations Update (December 12, 2016)

Download the Dalhousie University Culture of Respect Progress on Report Recommendations Update (December 12, 2016) [PDF - 1.2 MB]

A Message From Jasmine Walsh and Wanda Thomas Bernard

Co-Chairs, Strategic Priority 5.2

It is with great pleasure that we reflect on the work that our community is engaged in, supporting Dalhousie’s Strategic Direction 5.2 ‘Foster a Collegial Culture Grounded in Diversity and Inclusiveness.’

Diversity and inclusiveness are necessary conditions for excellence in a modern academic institution. Our work must fundamentally be about weaving the commitments that are reflected in this report into all aspects of the way our students, staff and faculty live, teach, learn and work at Dalhousie.

Through extensive consultations, our community has clearly asked us to deliver on meaningful and lasting change at Dalhousie. In order to achieve this, we have been busy through the summer and fall developing a holistic framework for Diversity and Inclusiveness at Dalhousie that will survive beyond the recommendations of the reports included in this update. We have likewise been working with Dalhousie’s Indigenous Advisory Council to develop a long-lasting strategy for Indigenous Excellence at Dalhousie.

We remain confident that Dalhousie is well poised to be a leader in diversity and inclusiveness and we are deeply committed to the activities that will get us there. We are pleased to share this report on Dalhousie’s progress to date and look forward to future opportunities to communicate success under Strategic Direction 5.2.

Most sincerely,
Jasmine Walsh, 
Acting AVP Human Resources

Wanda Thomas Bernard
Professor, School of Social Work/Special Advisor Diversity and Inclusiveness

Progress on Report Recommendations Update (June 13, 2016)

Download the Dalhousie University Culture of Respect Progress on Report Recommendations Update (June 13, 2016) [PDF - 1.2 MB]

A Message From Jasmine Walsh and Wanda Thomas Bernard

Co-Chairs, Strategic Priority 5.2

Work on phase 2 of Inspiration & Impact: Dalhousie’s Strategic Direction 5.2 ‘Foster a Collegial Culture Grounded in Diversity and Inclusiveness’ is well underway. A significant aspect of this work entails implementing recommendations from The Belong Report which was developed under the initial phase of this diversity and inclusiveness initiative.

We are also integrating and facilitating implementation of the Report on the Restorative Justice Initiative in the Faculty of Dentistry, the Report on the Task Force on Misogyny, Sexism and Homophobia in Dalhousie University Faculty of Dentistry, Aboriginal and African Canadian Student Access and Retention, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Canada: Calls to Action.

This is important and invigorating work. We believe Dalhousie is well poised to be a leader in diversity and inclusiveness and we are deeply committed to steering the activities that will get us there. We are pleased to share this report on Dalhousie’s progress to date and look forward to future opportunities to communicate success under Strategic Direction 5.2.

Most sincerely,
Jasmine Walsh, 
Acting AVP Human Resources

Wanda Thomas Bernard
Professor, School of Social Work/Special Advisor Diversity and Inclusiveness

Interim Update to Dalhousie University Senate on March 28, 2016

Response to Report from Taskforce on Misogyny, Sexism and Homophobia in the Faculty of Dentistry: Interim Update to Dalhousie University Senate on March 28, 2016

In responding to the Dentistry Facebook incident, we recognize that our actions as a university will continue to be judged by their long-term impact. We continue to be guided by our values as an academic institution, with the highest priority being the safety and success of our students

Dalhousie is strengthened in our diversity. We are a respectful and inclusive community. We are committed to being a place where everyone feels welcome and supported, which is why we committed in our Strategic Direction to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusiveness.

Creating cultural change takes time.  The journey is long, but together we are beginning to make progress.

This interim update is the latest response from the university to the recommendations included in report from the Task Force on Misogyny, Sexism and Homophobia in the Faculty of Dentistry, chaired by Dr. Constance Backhouse. As discussed at the February 22 Senate meeting, this update (see attached chart [PDF - 55kB]) provides progress reporting on recommendations 26, 28, 29, 32 and 35.

An update on progress in implementing all recommendations from the Task Force report [PDF - 727kB] was publicly provided on December 4, 2015.   A further comprehensive, public update from the university will be provided by the end of June 2016.

I will be pleased to provide overall comment on our progress, and our plans for moving forward on these five recommendations, during my remarks at the upcoming Senate meeting. I look forward to continuing to work with Senate and all members of our community to ensure a safe, respectful, diverse and inclusive campus community.

Dr. Richard Florizone
President, Dalhousie University   

Download the Chart for the Interim Update [PDF - 55kB]

Progress on Report Recommendations Update (November 30, 2015)

Download the Dalhousie University Culture of Respect Progress on Report Recommendations Update (November 30, 2015) [PDF - 729 kB]

An update on diversity and inclusiveness at Dalhousie

From Carolyn Watters and Ian Nason
Executive Sponsors, Strategic initiatives on diversity and inclusiveness

In 2014, in the spirit of our university’s priorities and values, Dalhousie made a commitment in our Strategic Direction to fostering a collegial culture grounded in the principles of diversity and inclusiveness. The events of this past year have reaffirmed the importance of that commitment. Everything we do as a university—teaching and learning that inspires, research that advances knowledge and understanding, our efforts to make a lasting impact in our communities—is predicated on an environment in which all in our community feel safe, supported and respected.

As we approach the end of 2015, we want to share a snapshot of the university’s collective efforts over the past several months to respond to the recommendations of the following reports:

  • the “Belong” report from Dalhousie’s Strategic initiative on Diversity and inclusiveness (march 2015);
  • the Report from the Restorative Justice process at the Faculty of Dentistry (may 2015);
  • the Report of the task Force on misogyny, Sexism and Homophobia in the Faculty of Dentistry, chaired by Constance Backhouse (June 2015);
  • and the Final Report of the truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (July 2015).

This current overview is meant to be a mid-year update to the community rather than a comprehensive review, but it does refl ect initial responses to many of the specific recommendations of these reports, including:

  • The institution, including academic and non-academic units, has become more focused on delivering education, training and workshops on topics of diversity and inclusiveness.
  • A new Education Coordinator in the Human Rights, Equity and Harassment prevention office, who is working on delivering training related to these topics together with internal and external experts.
  • The Dalhousie Census was launched in november 2015 for faculty, staff and students to self identify. it will enhance equity, diversity and inclusion planning through goal setting and implementation, and improve reporting on Dalhousie’s policy on Employment Equity through Affirmative Action.
  • The Faculty of Dentistry continues to bring about and sustain positive cultural change within its community reflecting learning from the experiences of the past year and has taken a number of immediate steps, some of which are noted in this report.

As well, the report on Aboriginal and Black/African Canadian Student Access and Retention: A Focus on Financial Support was recently completed. Responses to its recommendations (for which consultations are ongoing) will be included in future updates.

We know there is much more that is happening at the Faculty, Department and Unit level, with individuals and groups stepping up and doing their part to make Dalhousie a more supportive, inclusive and respectful place to work and study. We would love to hear more about what your Faculty or Unit is doing; please contact us at DalForward@dal.ca.

The university will be announcing the hire of its first Executive Director, Diversity and inclusiveness before the end of this term. Under that position’s leadership, we expect our reporting to the Dal community will continue to evolve, becoming more comprehensive, more holistic and more inclusive in reflecting progress across the university.

We offer our thanks for everyone’s efforts this past year, and our commitment to continue pushing forward on this important work in 2016.

Sincerely,
Carolyn Watters,
Provost and Vice-president Academic

Ian Nason,
Vice-president Finance and Administration